April 20, 2012

Information updated on translating/understanding French contracts

The French Linguistics site's page on translating French contracts has been updated. The page gives an overview of some of the main issues involved in understanding a French contract such as the compromis de vente signed in the initial stages of buying a French property, as well as other commercial contracts etc.

As in English, key issues with the translation of French contracts revolve around:

  • differences in Anglosaxon vs Frencophone legal systems;
  • the use of what are now archaic words and phrases in legal parlance: the translation of these may be particularly troublesome because a mainstream dictionary may in effect give you what is the wrong (=modern) interpretation for the purposes of a legal translation;
  • the use of technical/otherwise unusual words: these may technical legal or financial jargon whose interpretation is not readily listen in mainstream dictionaries.

The article deals with a few examples of such words and phrases to highlight some of the difficulties involved in producing a good, accurate translation of a French contract or other legal material.

Suggestions for additions to the article, as well as any material appearing on the French Linguistics site, are always welcome.

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